Kyokutenho Retires

It’s a very sad day in sumo. Until Terunofuji was promoted, the man had won more yusho than the three ozeki. At 40 years old, he would have turned 41 on the first day of the Fall tournament. He entered sumo in 1992. George H. W. Bush was President of the United States, François Mitterrand was President of France. The Soviet Union had just dissolved a few months before. Nirvana was touring its release of Nevermind. Yes, Kurt Cobain was still alive. In sports, the Washington Redskins, led by Mark Rypien beat Jim Kelly’s Buffalo Bills in Superbowl XXVI. The Premier League was just created from the English First Division. Back in Japan, Konishiki won the March yusho.

Nagoya 2015, Day 15: Hakuho Yusho! (35th)

Kakuryu gave an amazing effort. It was certainly worth the top billing. After a straight forward tachiai, both wrestlers secured double-barrel grips. Hakuho had the first chance at a yorikiri but Kakuryu countered and slid the superzuna out to the straw bales. However, Hakuho was just biding his time and got the yorikiri force-out victory for his 35th Yusho.

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In other news, Kotoshogiku henka’d his way to a sketchy kachi-koshi (after the last few days of lackluster, creampuff effort from his opponents). He can’t hang with the big boys so on this website, next tournament I will refer to him as sekiwake. It was Terunofuji’s first show at the rank and he picked up 11 wins! If Kotoshogiku needs to pick up 8 wins in this way, he’s not worthy of the rank. Goeido at least picked up a ninth win against Kisenosato, who finishes on 10-5.

Tochinoshin picked up his 8th win and will likely be komusubi next basho – but he needs to prove that he can win against higher ranked opponents, other than Harumafuji. His first week in the Fall tournament will be rough. He beat Kyokutenho who is likely going to retire. I’m still hoping he’ll compete next tournament because I think he turns 41 in September.

Tochiozan was awarded the Outstanding Performance special prize and Yoshikaze got the Fighting Spirit special prize. He finished with 12 wins, tied with Kakuryu for jun-yusho. The bout with Tochiozan left something to be desired, however. It didn’t seem like a straight up match and should have been redone because Yoshikaze clearly had a false start and Tochiozan just kinda had to go with it.

Osunaarashi (11-4) and Endo (10-5) had very strong tournaments and I’m very happy to see Amuru with 8 wins. Toyohibiki, Seiro, and Satoyama will fall back into Juryo and Hidenoumi may join them.

My battery is running low so I’ll publish now but update later.

Nagoya 2015, Day 14: Ichinojo Rolls Over, Will Terunofuji?

The Leaders:

Something’s gotten into Hakuho. Kisenosato had no hope today as the Superzuna rocketed him off the dohyo. Kakuryu had more of a match against Goeido. Goeido had the early edge. He really wanted to pick up that 10th win. In a quick, early surge he pushed Kakuryu to the edge but the Yokozuna was able to use the leverage from the straw bales to counter. Goeido stayed on the attack, though, but Kakuryu seemed to be riding it out. Goeido eventually tried an ill-timed throw because Kakuryu pushed him off the cliff.

The Rest:

I’ve seen Ichinojo toy with Kotoshogiku before. Today was not one of those days. Ichinojo appeared to put no effort into this match, as it’s seemed for a few matches this basho. I had high hopes that seeing Terunofuji’s quick rise would light a spark in him but today he just rolled over for the non-ozeki. I hope Terunofuji is better than that. Kotoshogiku is not a champion. He has no hope of being champion, much less a grand champion. He should be demoted.

If Tochiozan wants to be an ozeki, he needs to win these matches against guys like Kaisei more than matches against yokozuna. He has lost to 2 of 3 maegashira so far. He needs consistency against low-ranked guys but if he wins tomorrow, he’s one step toward an ozeki promotion.

Nagoya 2015, Day 13: Hakuho Leads Alone (updated)

The Leaders:

Goeido was obliterated by Hakuho. Hakuho basically drove through him at the tachiai, leaving Goeido flailing around, trying to get a hold of anything. Three seconds later, he’d been dropped off the cliff. Kakuryu was not quite so aggressive with Kisenosato. In fact, Kisenosato used his size to gently walk the yokozuna back off the dohyo. It was so quick that when Kakuryu made a slight hobble, it made me wonder if he’s got an ankle issue from yesterday’s hard-fought win over Terunofuji. I tried to find a sign from the earlier match but didn’t see anything. Kisenosato does have a distinct edge in their rivalry, winning the last three straight and four of six since the Mongolian became yokozuna. If there’s any reason why Kisenosato should be upset that he’s not Yokozuna, it should be that he’s so dominant against Kakuryu. He is just far too inconsistent early in tournaments. The last time he started 5-0 was May of 2013. That tournament, his first loss was Day 14 – to Hakuho.

The Rest:

Kagamio picked up his first win since Monday. Unfortunately for Satoyama, that means make koshi and he’s going back to Juryo – where he’ll be joined by Takanoiwa. Interesting fact, Kagamio won the Juryo yusho last tournament. Other than the past three days, he’s been doing pretty well in makuuchi, too. Needless to say, Satoyama’s opponent today was formidable as you could tell by the way he was whipped around by his neck.

In the amusing bout of the day, Sadanofuji and Kotoyuki had quite the slapfest. Kotoyuki had Sadanofuji on the ropes but Sadanofuji was able to dodge to the side and push Kotoyuki off the dohyo. That meant Kotoyuki ended up in the lap of the poor sod in the second row. Oosunaarashi had a great back-and-forth with Tokitenku but eventually prevailed to improve to 9-4. Endo is the first person I’ve seen to lose by hatakikomi and land flat on his back – rather than a belly flop. He falls to 9-4 but is still having a great tournament while Yoshikaze improves to 10-3. Special prize? With newbie Seiro tomorrow, he could finish with a great record.

Kyokutenho has gone off a cliff this tournament, and he gets shoved off one today by Gagamaru. Three straight losses for the 40 year old, his three wins coming from guys ranked M10 and below. It’s a given he’ll be in Juryo next basho but I’m hopeful he can sustain a winning record in there. He had 10 wins as recently as November. His foot is taped so maybe he needs it to heal. If his foot is injured, then I think it’s more likely he’ll retire. Okinoumi secured great ring position against Amuru and never yielded. As Amuru tried to maneuver, he fell victim to an Okinoumi throw.

Aminishiki went for the hatakikomi but Kitataiki maintained his balance and bulled straight through it – and straight through Aminishiki. Ikioi needs a shrink. When he gets this highly ranked, he’s just out of it. He loses again to Toyohibiki. Tochinoshin spun Takayasu and sent him into makekoshi-land. Tochinoshin improves to 6-7 with Gagamaru tomorrow. Tochiozan seems pissed he’s not in “The Leaders” anymore. He sent Sadanoumi three rows deep.

Ichinojo has had very little skill to demonstrate this basho. He’s got the size to beat the smaller guys but when he faces someone his size, he’s done. Terunofuji threw him hand stayed 2 off pace. Kaisei is still incapable of beating Kotoshogiku, he rolled over and Giku lives to fight another day. He faces Ichinojo who’ll undoubtedly roll over tomorrow.

Nagoya 2015, Day 12: Yokozuna Separate From Field (updated)

The Leaders:

It’s all now down to Hakuho and Kakuryu. Kakuryu forced Terunofuji to the edge and try as he might just was not able to push him over for the yorikiri win. But he still managed a throw to stay in the lead and push the shin-ozeki two losses back. Terunofuji looked to have the early edge, with position in the ring and both arms wrapped around Kakuryu’s arms. But Kakuryu was able to use his lower position to maneuver Terunofuji to the edge. Terunofuji sure dug in his heels against the yorikiri, but Kakuryu finally managed a throw.

Hakuho quickly dispatched the hapless Kotoshogiku. Hakuho faces Goeido, who has given him problems lately with four losses over the last seven tournaments, including one in May. Has Goeido found an edge? Giku faces Kaisei with Terunofuji and Ichinojo waiting in the wings, and any loss moving forward sends him down to sekiwake. It’s been a year since he’s managed 10 wins, so if he goes down, it is highly unlikely that he’ll bounce back up. He’s still getting kachi koshi in sanyaku so it’s possible he can hang around Sekiwake for a while.

Tochiozan fell earlier to Okinoumi. This may be the moment his yusho hopes were dashed. All the hard work beating two yokozuna and two ozeki may be for naught as he falls to a lowly maegashira. The Goeido loss may have put it out of reach but surely today’s match put a dagger in those hopes. He should still finish strongly these last three days if he hopes to follow Terunofuji for ozeki promotion with 33 wins over 3 tournaments. Putting up 12 here is a strong move.

The Rest:

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Nagoya 2015, Day 11: Sorry So Late!!!

The Leaders:

It’s back to Hakuho and Kakuryu. We knew at least one of the leaders would fall off pace today since Hakuho faced Terunofuji. This lived up to the hype. It was a great bout. Terunofuji seemed to have the early edge since he had position in the center of the ring. But Hakuho is very patient. He very quickly made a move to regain the center, and as a result, Terunofuji lost his left hand grip. Hakuho then used his powerful two-handed belt grip to leverage the shin-ozeki out of the ring. Great. Bout.

Kakuryu, however, dominated Kotoshogiku from the outset. Giku can only afford to lose one more match and he has to face Hakuho tomorrow. I don’t think it will be a stretch to say he’ll be quick out of the gate tomorrow, hoping to overpower Hakuho. He also has Terunofuji, Ichinojo, and likely Kaisei left to face. Assuming he loses tomorrow to Hakuho, he cannot lose any of these other matches or he will be demoted.

Tochiozan fell to an aggressive, attacking Goeido. I like this Goeido. He wrapped his arm around Tochiozan’s head and pulled him down. Tochiozan will face Okinoumi tomorrow while Goeido faces Takekaze. At this point, Tochiozan has the advantage with a much easier schedule. The big test tomorrow, Kakuryu faces Terunofuji. Terunofuji wants to stay in the hunt while I’m sure Kakuryu wants to stay in the lead.

The Rest:

Endo got his kachi koshi against Kotoyuki. Kotoyuki pounced quickly but Endo withstood the charge. Kotoyuki was very aggressive, but also very straight forward and one dimensional. Endo fended off each attack and batted him down with hatakikomi. It’s great to see him back and apparently healthy. He’ll face Seiro tomorrow.

Kyokutenho, on the other hand, has been going in the opposite direction. He now has a losing record and will need to fight to stay in makuuchi. Oosunaarashi ran away from Chiyotairyu and ended up in the 3rd row of spectators. Yoshikaze picked up his winning record in a quick one against Kagamio. Amuru got a straight forward yorikiri win over GAGAMARU for kachi koshi. I’m sure he’s got special prize on his mind now.

Nagoya 2015, Day 10: TOCHIOZAN WANTS YUSHO (updated)

The Leaders:

Tochiozan continues his winning streak by slapping down Hakuho! Both are now in a crowded group at 9-1 with Kakuryu & Terunofuji. Kagamio stumbled against Amuru to slip back to 8-2. We’ve got ourselves quite a tournament. I figured everyone would be chasing Hakuho for a few days but maybe Tochiozan was inspired by the way that Terunofuji’s lightning promotion. He’s got Goeido tomorrow, the last ozeki on his schedule. From there, his path should get easier just as the other leaders’ schedules get more difficult.

Kakuryu staved off a challenge from Takarafuji to remain at 9-1. The yokozuna will face the ever-desperate Kotoshogiku. Takarafuji is tied with Ikioi (at 1-9) for the futility award. Lastly, Terunofuji outlasted Kaisei to keep it interesting. Tomorrow, the headline match has to be Hakuho vs Terunofuji so at least one man will be 10-1 at the end of the day. Meanwhile, Kagamio lost to Amuru so he’s alone in second place. He moves on to face Yoshikaze tomorrow.

The Rest:

Sokokurai came up from Juryo, basically to send Satoyama back down. He was on the offensive the whole time with a two handed belt grip. Satoyama basically held on as long as he could until Sokokurai’s trip finally worked. Very cool kirikaeshi. Endo (7-3) obliterated Takanoiwa with a very strong tachiai, and just didn’t stop until Takanoiwa was sitting in the shinpan’s lap. Chiyotairyu (7-3) also met Kotoyuki with a strong tachiai but then ducked to the side and let Kotoyuki flop on his belly.

Kyokutenho got a very important third win. He’ll need to win the rest to get kachi-koshi but I imagine he’s just taking it one match at a time, trying to stay in makuuchi. Tokitenku withstood Homarefuji’s slaps and gave a few good nodowa thrusts before pulling the rug out and dropping his opponent. Oosunaarashi kept Yoshikaze at arms length and beat him off the dohyo. Both stand at 7-3. We’ll have a slew of men getting their winning records tomorrow.

Sadanofuji’s one of the few that can hang with Gagamaru in the heavyweight division. Today, he outlasted the Georgian and walked him out for the yorikiri win. I’m very happy Ikioi is not more seriously injured after yesterday’s fall. He seemed fine today but his high-level futility continues. M4 and higher, he can’t buy a win, even against guys he usually beats like Kyokushuho.

I seriously think Japanese athletes and teams need to invest more in sports psychologists. Hakuho is ice when he’s in the ring. He’s cool as a cucumber. With the exception of the 2012 women’s soccer team, it seems Japanese athletes and teams in the spotlight just don’t have the confidence or the mental toughness to advance to their full potential. From Mao-chan to Kisenosato, I just don’t think their head is in the game when it’s all on the line. Ikioi shouldn’t be going down to a hatakikomi today.

Sadanoumi was no match for Aoiyama (5-5). Myogiryu also advances to 5-5 with a dominant win over Okinoumi. Tochinoshin needs to step on the gas if he wants to be in the sanyaku next tournament. It’s good time to meet Ichinojo, then. Ichinojo just hasn’t had much answer against Tochinoshin since his size is easily negated by the Georgian’s power. Kisenosato wants to stay in the hunt. Kotoshogiku came at him with everything but he withstood the charge, got position at the center of the ring and steadily pushed him out. Goeido showed great reaction time as Aminishiki attempted the henka. Goeido recovered while Aminishiki’s own momentum tripped him up.

Nagoya 2015, Day 9: Tochi From Kochi Upsets Kakuryu, Hakuho Leads Alone

The Leaders:

Hakuho is usually so cool…but today we saw a hostile side we never usually see. He handled Ichinojo with little difficulty but Ichinojo must have said something about his mother. After Hak pushed him over the edge, he gave Ichinojo a good shove to the face, well after the win. The only thing missing was a cream pie.

Tochiozan must have oiled himself up today. Kakuryu clearly had problems trying to get a hold of him. While he struggled, the sekiwake kept their momentum moving Kakuryu backwards and out of the ring.

Terunofuji straight blasted Kisenosato off the dohyo. He nearly threw the senior ozeki twice but each time Kisenosato was able to regain his balance. The last time, though, Terunofuji got him going the wrong way and finally ejected him – bouncy, bouncy – into the front row. Kagamio stays in the running and gets his kachi koshi with a yorikiri win over Homarefuji, who falls to 3-6. He faces a serious test in Amuru tomorrow.

The Rest:

Now, two wrestlers desperate to stay in makuuchi: Kotoyuki and Tokitenku. Kotoyuki took a page out of Oosunaarashi’s playbook and destroyed Satoyama with an aggressive tachiai, aimed right at the head. Tokitenku pulled out the henka/leg sweep, ketaguri, to improve to 4-5.

Amuru is really impressive this tournament. He meet the much larger Toyohibiki head on, even giving up 50 kg, jostled for a two-handed belt grip, then threw him about 6 feet to the left. It took him a long time to get into makuuchi and now I’m beginning to think he’ll be here for a while. Kitataiki, on the other hand, has not been having a good tournament. Two wins coming into today, I’m sure he’d been feeling the pressure to win. But pulling out a henka on a maegashira 13?

I think Endo is back! He gives up 50 kg to Sadanofuji and earns his yorikiri victory. Kyokutenho is going the opposite way. He had nothing against Toyonoshima who hasn’t exactly been burning up the dohyo, either. Chiyotairyu (6-3) jumped out of the gate, startling Tamawashi (3-6), and blasting him over the edge.

Oosunaarashi got Gagamaru off-balance, chasing after a belt grab. Oosunaarashi improves to 6-3 and faces a great Yoshikaze (7-2). Gagamaru falls to 4-5. Aminishiki picked up an important third win against Kyokushuho (3-6). I’m concerned about Ikioi. To me, it looked like he broke his arm in the fall. I hope I’m wrong.

Tochinoshin picked up an important third win against Takarafuji, who falls to 1-8 with Ikioi, getting his make koshi. Tochinoshin battled with Uncle Muscles for a good while but timed his surge at the right time. He picked Takarafuji a meter off the floor and dropped him over the bales. Tochinoshin battles Ichinojo tomorrow! Takarafuji faces Kakuryu. Kotoshogiku and Goeido picked up important fifth wins today, against Aoiyama and Kaisei, respectively.

Nagoya 2015, Day 8: Ikioi Gives Kakuryu a Scare

The Leaders:

Hakuho seemed content to let Kaisei wear himself out in a good belt battle. Hakuho demonstrated his patience and his power, able to counter any move Kaisei attempted. When Kaisei appeared to have nothing left in the tank for another go, Hakuho powerfully escorted him and his extra 40 kg out of the ring. Again, to note, rather than let himself get thrown off the dohyo and risk injury, Kaisei let up and stayed upright. Many of the lower ranked guys need to learn this in order to protect themselves.

Ikioi always brings it. No matter who he faces, he always gives it his all. Today, he faced Kakuryu and surprised the entire arena by very nearly throwing the yokozuna to his first loss. When Kakuryu moved for Ikioi’s belt, (or maybe an ill-timed kick?) Ikioi countered and used the leverage to shove the pair over to the edge. However, Kakuryu recovered and promptly threw Ikioi off the dohyo for his 8th win. Ikioi falls to 1-7.

Tochinoshin showed up for a great bout with Terunofuji (7-1). He even controlled the action for a little while as Terunofuji realized he wouldn’t be able to just bull him over. The ozeki eventually wore him down, though, and picked up an impressive yorikiri win to stay one loss behind the Hak & Kak.

Tochiozan stayed on pace with a great, methodical yorikiri win over Ichinojo. He withstood the initial charge and quickly gained control of the bout. With a good tug, I think he scared Ichinojo into thinking he was going for hatakikomi but instead walked the monster out backwards. Kagamio (7-1) wants his kachi-koshi bad. He pulled out a glorious henka on Toyohibiki (4-4). He’s definitely got a chance against Homarefuji tomorrow. Among the bottom ranks of the makuuchi, he’s really only got Satoyama left to face so this week should be more of a challenge.

The Rest:

Seiro (4-4) improved to .500 by overpowering Satoyama (3-5).  Kyokutenho (2-6) picked up his second win of the tournament against Hidenoumi (3-5) with a great throw. Amuru has been doing really well this tournament, improving to 5-3 while facing solid maegashira. What I mean by that are guys in the 8-12 ranks instead of down in the 14-16. He faces Toyohibiki tomorrow. Tokitenku tried a rather feeble slap against Yoshikaze but Yoshikaze controlled the ring and chased the Mongolian out to improve to 6-2.

Provided injuries don’t end their careers too early, the Endo v Oosunaarashi rivalry promises more great sumo. Endo still needs to get Oosunaarashi on the belt. If he lets the Egyptian keep the battle at arms length, like he did today, he’s got little hope of hanging with that aggressive style. Both now stand at 5-3. I think Okinoumi showed how it should be done two days ago. Speaking of Okinoumi, he improved to 6-2 by dominating Gagamaru, who falls to 4-4. He quickly brought the battle to the belt and pushed the Georgian out. Okinoumi faces the solid Yoshikaze tomorrow and Gagamaru takes on Oosunaarashi in a battle to watch.

Takayasu slipped in the tachiai to provide the most anti-climactic bout of the day. Aoiyama happily picked up the win to improve to 4-4. I haven’t wanted to report on Uncle Takarafuji’s impotence this tournament. Let’s just say it continued today. Myogiryu improves to 3-5. Kotoshogiku won the ozeki battle with Goeido both are at .500 with a week to go. Kisenosato dominated Aminishiki, staying two losses off pace – as usual.

Nagoya 2015, Day 7: Goeido Sole Ozeki Winner

The Leaders:

Hakuho played with Ikioi for a little bit, perhaps to build his confidence, before easily pushing him out for yorikiri win. Kakuryu fended off an early challenge from Kaisei to stay undefeated. As soon as he got a two-handed belt grip, Kakuryu had the match in the bag.

Terunofuji (6-1) faced Goeido (4-3) in the first Ozeki match up of the tournament. Goeido prevailed with a slick kick to the shin, catching the shin-ozeki off-guard. Lastly, Endo (5-2) put an end-o to Kagamio’s (6-1) unbeaten streak. Tochiozan (6-1) stayed in the hunt with a great win over Myogiryu. It’s now a yokozuna battle for the title with this small group of 3 now chasing.

The Rest:

Kisenosato (5-2) was in control of his match against Aoiyama (3-4) until devastated by a fierce nodowa. That turned the tables in the match and turned the ozeki out. It likely took the ozeki out of contention for the yusho. Kotoshogiku (3-4) also fell today, flat on his face after a Takayasu (3-4) henka. After looking a bit rejuvenated with very strong bouts over the last few days, he slipped back under .500 with the loss. With 8 days remaining, Giku can only lose 3 more to remain an ozeki and these upcoming bouts will be against the strongest competition, including both yokozuna and three ozeki.

Nagoya 2015, Day 6: Ikioi Finally Wins!

The Leaders:

Hakuho obliterated Myogiryu again. Kakuryu’s win over Aoiyama basically went like this: shove, slap, shove, slap, repeat 10x, quickly grab for the belt and plop the Bulgarian over the edge. Terunofuji picked up Sadanoumi and threw him into the crowd to stay winless. Kagamio stays the only “underclassman” among the undefeated. He faces a resurgent Endo tomorrow.

The Rest:

Kisenosato’s win over Ichinojo keeps him in the hunt while Tochiozan also improved to 5-1 with a dominant win over Takayasu. Kaisei also remains one off the lead by withstanding Tamawashi’s head and throat shots. Yay! Ikioi got his first win of the tournament against Aminishiki. Short celebration, though, as he faces Hakuho tomorrow. The last time he lost the first five matches, he finished 1-14. The time before that, he finished 5-10. Let’s turn this bus around!

Okinoumi quickly neutralized Oosunaarashi’s aggressive slaps, forcing a belt battle. This takes advantage of the Egyptian’s injured shoulder and Okinoumi was able to secure a winning throw. Chiyotairyu is bringing it this tournament. He nearly took Satoyama’s (2-4) head off with a quick yorikiri to improve to 4-2. I agree with Kintamayama on today’s Tokitenku/Kotoyuki fight. It is definitely worth watching over, and over (2:45). This is the most ridiculous kick move I’ve ever seen. Losing balance, flailing all over the place…very amusing.

Nagoya 2015, Day 5: Hakuho, Kakuryu, Terunofuji, Kagamio @ 5-0

Leaders:

Hakuho faced the man mountains of Aoiyama today. The Bulgarian blasted at Hakuho with an impressively fierce tachiai. However, Hakuho quickly recovered and secured a right-handed grip on Aoiyama’s mawashi. As soon as he was able to get that left hand grip, it was over. He began gingerly walking Aoiyama back toward the edge and threw him off the edge.

Kakuryu got into a brawling slap-fest with Myogiryu but prevailed with a hatakikomi slap down. Terunofuji rather casually tossed Tochiozan into the crowd to stay on pace. Well, it wasn’t quite that easy and Tochiozan remains in the hunt at 4-1. Kagamio also showed good strength in his yorikiri win over Hidenoumi to stay among the leaders. He faces the Juryo ranked Kagayaki tomorrow.

The Rest:

Kisenosato (4-1) stayed one loss back by dispatching the winless Ikioi. Ikioi always goes full-on and it’s great to watch and root for. However, Kisenosato was never in any real danger as he quickly locked Ikioi’s right arm and dragged him across the ring for a finishing throw. I like to see this version of Kaisei. He is also 4-1, quickly getting Okinoumi (3-2) going in the wrong direction. Oosunaarashi’s high-energy, aggressive brand of sumo is formidable and Tamawashi was not able to keep up. The Sand Storm stays one loss off pace at 4-1.

Goeido had nothing against Ichinojo. He seemed surprised that a strong tachiai didn’t move the 200 kg Mongolian. Instead, he just stood there, presumably thinking “what do I do now?”, but leaving himself vulnerable on the edge of the ring. Ichinojo just gave him a quick shove and off the dohyo he went. Both wrestlers stand at an unimpressive 2-3. Kotoshogiku (2-3) looked back to his old self as his jack-rabbit leg thrusts forced Tochinoshin to fall to 0-5. Sokokurai made a brief appearance back in Prime Time but a well executed nodowa gave Takanoiwa his first win of the tournament.

Nagoya 2015, Day 4: Kotoshogiku Drops Another One

Kotoshogiku is in a bad way. At 1-3 after the first few days of the tournament, his confidence must be seriously shaken. Hatakikomi is just embarrassing and it seems to be increasingly frequent. His one win, against Ikioi, wasn’t exactly a dominant display, either. All the other ozeki and both yokozuna won.

Hakuho was quick and dominant, surprise, surprise. Kakuryu, on the other hand, withstood Tochinoshin like a yokozuna should. Tochinoshin gave him his best. Kakuryu wore him down, kept his opponent on the edge, and forced him out. Terunofuji owned the center of the ring today. He basically let Takayasu wear himself down and got the yorikiri. Takarafuji reminds me of my uncle, but more muscular. The muscles weren’t enough today, though. Kisenosato, with his girth, was able to force the yorikiri.

Ichinojo is a long way away from his dominant debut. Myogiryu’s impressive performances, including this oshidashi win should keep him in the sanyaku. Aoiyama and Kaisei looked dominant in their matches. Gagamaru picked up his first win against Aminishiki while Oosunaarashi picked up a great belt win versus Kitataiki.

I have to mention the great bout between Sadanofuji and Amuru. Very long, evenly matched, Sadanofuji’s size seemed to win the day here. He wore Amuru down and handed the Russian his first loss. Kyokutenho just hasn’t had it this tournament. He’s struggled during the first and final thirds of each tournament this year. Endo came back off his loss with an over-eager matta against Tokitenku. At the restart, he was still able to gain great, low position and force the Mongolian back, advancing to 3-1.

Kagamio solidly defeated Kotoyuki to stay undefeated. He joins Toyohibiki as the only maegashira at 4-0. Seiro got his first career win against Hidenoumi. Good timing for it, too. Both are 2-2 so far. Satoyama was thoroughly dominated by Daieisho, from Juryo. Unless he finds his groove soon, I expect they’ll be trading places on the banzuke come September.

Nagoya 2015, Day 3: Hakuho, Kakuryu, Terunofuji lead the field – ALL OZEKI WIN (updated)

I’ll update this with a more full run down when I get a chance but no upsets among the ozeki today. That said, Ikioi came very close to executing a successful throw against Kotoshogiku but couldn’t quite pull it off. As penance, he had to have the entire weight of Kotoshogiku fall on top of him. Ouch. The fact is, he should have had it. Kotoshogiku was able to use his leg strength to get the Maegashira to the straw bales but Ikioi was able to stop his momentum once there.

Terunofuji blasted Myogiryu through the ring and nearly off the dohyo. I was afraid Myogiryu’s knee buckled at the edge but I think he dropped down to prevent himself from falling off the edge. I’ll need to see replays of that later. He popped back up quickly and showed no signs of injury. Kisenosato was too much for Sadanoumi. Sadanoumi just seems out-matched against this level of competition this tournament. Goeido pulled off a thrilling double spin to defeat Aoiyama. In a great match, Aoiyama got Goeido spun around but Goeido spun again and the Bulgarian lost his balance and fell, boobs first, into the clay.

I was looking forward to Hakuho v Tochinoshin but that matchup fell flat. Sensing Tochinoshin over-committing, Hakuho helped him flop into the dirt for the hatakikomi win. Kakuryu was also pretty dominant against Takayasu, picking up his third win and closing out the first day of the tournament without any top upsets.

Lower ranked updates below…

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Nagoya 2015, Day 2: Dohyo Awareness Key to Longevity (updated)

Endo’s getting back into the swing of things with another impressive yorikiri win. The key for his health is going to be: ring awareness. He needs to know where he is on the dohyo to avoid aggravating his healing knee injury. If he’s close to the edge, he may want to back off slowly rather than continue to press and risk a nasty looking fall.

Speaking of nasty looking falls, Satoyama needs to learn this lesson because he was awfully close to serious injury at the brutal hands of Toyohibiki. Backed to the edge, Satoyama continued to try to press forward but he wasn’t able to counter the ruthless nodowa. If he had the girth of Ichinojo, maybe he could try a straight forward counter when his feet are backed to the straw bales. Without size, he’d only win with dexterity by dodging to the side and letting the opponent’s momentum do the work. But forced into a backward arch, he was in no position to try it.

Case in point, Kotoyuki plowed into Kyokutenho and clearly was dominating the match. The geezer gave it his all to counter but couldn’t. When he sensed he was close to the edge, he pulled up and stepped out. This is why he’s still wrestling in makuuchi in his 40s. Same with Tokitenku’s step out loss in the next battle. AVOID INJURY.

Amuru amazes me. He controlled his bout with Homarefuji, battled for a good long while and pulled out an impressive yorikiri win. Osunaarashi was able to get Toyonoshima spun around and bulled forward until both wrestlers toppled into the crowd. He probably could have held back at the end to avoid sending himself into the crowd but it must be difficult to judge when you can let up w/o ceding a chance for the opponent to counter. In this case, though, I think the Sand Storm could have stayed in the ring and won. Gagamaru slipped again. He seems to fall victim to that quite a bit at this level.

Updates…

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